Failure is a myth. There’s no such thing. What we call failure is really just a “missed mark.” It’s an unrealized goal or an incomplete vision. But being the humans that we are, we want to judge it—to slap a label on our outcomes—to compare ourselves and know where we rank, in an attempt to either validate an already poor self-image or to try to motivate ourselves to change and do better.
How to believe in yourself even more during times of failure
Focusing on failure never. got. nobody. nowhere. But paying attention to the available learnings and the opportunities did. Think about all the crazy-beautiful and useful things that exist in our world because of a presumable failure—Post It notes, the microwave, Penicillin, the slinky, X-rays, even chocolate chip cookies.
Helen Keller said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
When we bump up against the things we call failure it’s actually our cue to dig deep—deeper than we thought we could go. It’s a call to find new resources within ourselves and to get more creative to make lemonade out of the sour oranges that just fell from what we thought was the lemon tree. So often, though, we get lost in our kvetching or the pity party of why we didn’t “make it.” While it’s sometimes important to process emotions like hopelessness, sadness and frustration, we need to do it as quickly as possible, and then move on so we don’t miss the opportunity inherent in any kind of “failure” experience.
So here are some angles to consider regarding why you should believe in yourself even more during times of missing the mark:
Your worthiness is enhanced through both your successes and your failures.
First things first, there is an important distinction to be made when it comes to believing in yourself: You are not what you produce. You are the combined essence of your Spirit within blended with your Humanness—you are the vibrational being that is traveling a life path and collecting all sorts of experiences. We all desire to be deemed “worthy” in the world around us and we often gauge that in terms of successes and failures. That’s all well and good, since part of life is creating and expressing new ideas. But when we allow those things to define or determine our unique worthiness, we’ve lost sight of the true Self within who is the one we need to lean on and believe in at all times—and especially when we experience the emotional lows that tend to accompany failure. The truth is that both successes and failures equally provide opportunities to enhance us. When we can lock into the energies of self-belief and self-advocacy that enhancement has an avenue to expand and help us grow through our mega bummer moments.
You already know how to find and open new doors.
What we call failure is basically just a closed door. But you’ve faced closed doors before. The most recent (or current) one is not new, but just another version of one you’ve met before or perhaps one that’s showing up in a different area of life. You know how to overcome obstacles—you’ve done it a million times. Maybe the scale was smaller, but the skill of perseverance is still the same. You’ve proven that you can get through tough stuff in life, so lean into that resilient part of yourself to carry you through this one. Believe in your ability to bounce forward, and while you do that begin to look for new doors to open so you don’t stay stuck lamenting over an experience that has already run it’s course or an outcome that was never meant to be in the first place.
If you don’t believe in yourself more during times of failure, you are missing out on the gift—the value in the failure itself.
The best thing you can do during times of failure are turn within to face your own beautiful self and say, “Self, there is a gift in this, even if we haven’t seen it yet.” Reassure yourself that you are just ina process of learning in Life School here on Planet Earth, and that there are always new things to discover. When you can change your perspective to be more gentle and accepting, and to truly believe in yourself, it actually shifts your energy into more elevated states which helps your cortical brain think more clearly, be more creative and connect with your deeper wisdom to transform your failure into a success. But when you indulge the victim part of yourself that wants to fixate on the drama of the failure, you keep your limbic, survival brain activated, which directly inhibits you from moving forward and finding the value in the missed mark.
A great tool for recovering to your wisdom and creativity is to start asking yourself Constructive Questions like:
- What’s the value in this circumstance?
- Where might life be leading me that I would not otherwise think to go?
- How can I get creative with this and turn it into a positive?
There’s always a breakdown before a breakthrough.
When the caterpillar goes into its cocoon, it completely emulsifies. It comes totally undone, breaking down into a slimy little sludge. In that process, it doesn’t then start stressing that it is not yet a butterfly—it trusts in its innate ability to complete the metamorphosis to emerge as an elegant and strong-winged creature, more evolved and advanced than ever before in its lifetime.
We humans are no different. There is always an ebb and flow of energy happening around and within us. And we actually need the ebb—the breaking down—in order to upgrade to the next level of our personal evolution. Many times a “failure” is precisely what is needed to generate our mental-emotional-spiritual emulsification so we can emerge stronger, more clear, and more focused than ever before. Embracing the failure, and actually appreciating the depth it is creating within you, will allow you to flow more quickly and solidly in the direction that holds the successes and the outcomes you desire. This means taking delicate and exquisite care of yourself when you are in an ebb—and you will know you’re ebbing based on either an explicit experience of failure or based on generally feeling depleted, worthless, hopeless, irritated, uncentered, and the like. When you are not operating from your Best Self, take the time to nurture and care for the little slimy sludge within you that is growing into the up-leveled version of You that is waiting around the corner…
The Law of Rhythm has your back.
You are not on this journey alone. You have a whole energetic universe on your side. As real and powerful as the Law of Gravity, the Law of Rhythm says that everything is life is always fluxing and flowing—wherever there’s a down, an up is on the way. We cannot remain stagnant because that’s not how life works. Oh, we can resist the flow—believe me—but we cannot stop the movement of energy that is the basis of this life. What that means in times of failure is that there is a success waiting for you on the other side…as long as you remain in the flow, amp up your belief in yourself, and focus on where you are going—not on where you are or where you were. Tending to and believing in yourself more during difficult times will help you move through the “lows” more efficiently so you can get to the “highs” that are inevitably available to you when you keep the faith, expect a rebound into better-than-before, and hold your focus on becoming the person you are capable of being.